Assessment of Major Federal Data Sets for Analyses of Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander Subgroups and Native Americans: Inventory of Selected Existing Federal Databases. Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort (ECLS-B)


Sponsoring agency

National Center for Education Statistics
Department of Education


Reference date



The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), is designed to track the development of 15,000 children born in the year 2000 through their first grade year of school. To be initiated in Fall 2000, its objective is to study the "whole child," including health, early learning, physical, cognitive, social, emotional and early educational experiences of young children. In sum, the primary objectives of ECLS-B are:

  • To understand the growth and development of children in critical domains;
  • To understand how children transition to out-of-home programs and to school; and
  • To understand children's school readiness.

Multiple types of data will be collected at multiple points, with the first data collection taking place some 9 months after birth. Subsequent data collection will occur at 18 months, 30 months, 48 months, kindergarten, and first grade. In all, six data collection methods are planned--use of information contained on the birth certificate, a parent/guardian interview in the home at each data point, administration of a battery of assessments to the child, and information from care providers, preschool teachers, first grade teachers, and school administrators. During the study, information also will be obtained from residential fathers about their interaction with the children.


Initially, race/ethnicity for the parents will be collected directly from the Birth Certificate. Since the certificate does not record the child's race, the child will be assigned the mother's race. At the first interview with the parent, race/ethnicity will be obtained directly. The specific questions and response categories are not yet available. However, it is expected that, for the most part, the response items are expected to be the same as those used in ECLS-K.

Interviewing policy

Given that the study is still in an early stage, the exact policy for dealing with each of the groups to be contacted has not yet been finalized. As a general policy, however, bilingual staff will be used as needed to obtain information from non-English speaking respondents. At a minimum, both Spanish- and Chinese-speaking interviewers will be recruited; other language skills will be available as required. All CAPI instruments will be available in Spanish, as will paper instruments. A paper instrument in Chinese is under consideration.

Sample size

The sample sizes shown in Appendix Tables A-1 to A-3 refer to new births selected for the Year 1 sample. As noted above, the initial detail on race/ethnicity will be drawn from the birth certificate; since the information is not available for the child, the mother's detail will be ascribed to the child, and updated at the time of the first interview with the parent/guardian. The first interview also will obtain the subgroup detail for both Hispanics and Asian and Pacific Islanders (API). The API group as a whole was oversampled by about 10 percent, whereas the Chinese were oversampled by a factor of 3, in order to provide a sufficient sample for separate analysis.

Publications of data for Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans

Plans for tabulation and publication are still being developed, but it is expected that limited data will be available for Hispanics and Asians, as well as for Mexican-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and those who classify themselves in more than one racial category. It is too early to speculate about the availability of public use micro-date tapes.

Revised race/ethnic definitions

Given the longitudinal nature of this effort, the sponsor, NCES, will face the need to reflect the proposed revised OMB race/ethnic standards. The questions and response categories currently planned for use in this effort, however, appear consistent for the most part with the expected guidelines, including an allowance for the reporting of multiple racial/ethnic categories.

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